Skip to comments.Undiluted Anglicanism
Posted on 06/09/2005 7:05:41 AM PDT by sionnsar
This is a sermon preached by the Rev. Roger Salter of St. Matthews Anglican Church near Birmingham in 2004. I think this is perhaps as clear a statement of a classical Anglicanism that is true to the heritage of the Reformation as I have seen recently:
The unsettledness, upheavals, and realignments within Anglicanism afford our Communion not just an opportunity to lament and protest against the disturbing elements in doctrine and practice over recent decades, but to re-establish ourselves in the genuine historic Anglicanism constituted by our founding fathers at the Reformation. Not that we are locked into the past, or mesmerized by some previous golden age, but we have a foundation and heritage that has never formally been set aside through debate and universal consent within the church, which still stands as binding upon our clergy, and which has stood the test of time and withstood critical appraisal as the basis of our belief and message. The fundamental compendium from which we live, work, worship and witness as Anglicans is the Book of Common Prayer (1662), and its doctrine and liturgy guide us in our thoughts concerning God and our approach to Him. In that masterly volume we possess a thoroughly Augustinian manual of doctrine and devotion that preserves the best of ancient Catholicism and ensures the retention of the insights of the Reformation. The church is not static, but nor is it meant to be erratic, and as we move through the generations in our service of God and our outreach to men orthodoxy and stability are ensured by constant reference to our constitutional documents that define the true and essential character of Anglicanism.If Anglicanism is to present any credible alternative to the claims of other churches, it must, in my opinion, follow such a path as outlined by Rev. Salter. If I was seeking a church in the Birmingham, Alabama area, I would look very hard at this church as a possible home.
The foundation that we possess has never been invalidated. Our doctrine may be deemed unfashionable, or even objectionable, by many, but it has never been disproved by Scripture. Our worship may not necessarily be bound to one particular form, as in the BCP, but Cranmer provides us with a model of such high theological and liturgical standards that we must never lose sight of it and always attempt to match its scripturalness and reverence in any form of worship that we might choose to use as a companion. The touchstone for our doctrine and devotion will always be the 1662. If we move anywhere else we will become something else, for the BCP enshrines the core teachings of Gods Word, and rearranges the Word in a superbly skilful way for our corporate praise of God. Our faith is unchanging, though capable of being more fully grasped, and our worship could well be more varied, but it should never vary from the divine revelation, and always accurately and worthily reflect what we have come to know of Him through His Word (It is impossible to honour God as we ought, unless we know Him as He is - Stephen Charnock).
Anglicanism strives to be Biblical. No such human attempt is perfect, but nothing less can be envisaged than the desire to be pleasing to God, conform to His will, and rightly represent Him to the world. Thus we endeavour to be loyal to all that is reliably known of God and the salvation He has provided. No major Reformational assertion bequeathed to us by our 16th century leaders needs to be retracted. Their position, outlined in our Articles, is patently Scriptural. There seems to be no other way to shape our confessional stance. They have touched on and treated the salient and vital features of Christian belief and we must not withdraw or omit anything of our doctrinal inheritance through loss of nerve or quest for popularity.
Our origins are in the great Augustinian revival that gripped the church and civilization throughout the 16th and 17th centuries. Specifically we are a people that sprang from the rediscovery of the Pauline comprehension of sin and grace that so possessed Augustine and pervaded the church through his influence. Our Reformers were seized by the same convictions in common with the great Reformers of continental Europe. Our emphasis on sin and grace must be strong. We must not baulk from the reality of human depravity and its accompanying incapacity to please or seek God aright. We cannot adapt the gospel to more optimistic assessments of human nature. Man is fallen, ruined, and in extreme danger, and we must address him as such. Glib references to the love of God, a happy, successful, and contented life under his hand, are not sufficient and do not get to the heart of the matter. We do not just need a better life, a blessed life with God as a means to those ends. We need rescue, redemption, and renewal urgently and before we embark upon eternity. Much of todays gospel can get along without recognition of our condemnation and the absolute necessity of the cross to put us right with God and deliver us from His displeasure. Todays gospel is essentially flattering and man pleasing with God as the satisfier of our carnal desires. Our Articles require us to be honest with men and faithful to Holy Scripture. We must declare the devastating consequences of original sin, the enslavement of the human will to evil, we must preach the necessity of regeneration through the power of the Holy Spirit and justification through Christs obedience and death alone. Our doctrine of saving grace must be under-girded by our confessions teaching on election and the eternal love of God for His chosen ones. We must not blend in with the watered-down views on sin and salvation so prevalent in our time. Arminianism has runs its course to near universalism. We are more preoccupied with cultivating comfort, self-esteem, and expanding congregations than bringing men and women into a genuine saving and sanctifying relationship with God.
There is integrity about true Anglicanism. It wants men to know the truth, the real facts, about themselves and God. It wants believers to worship the Lord worthily, to walk with Him humbly and dutifully, and to be prepared for eternity. Anglicanism bows before the majesty of God, cherishes His truth, presents the joy of knowing Him, encourages the beauty of holiness in its adherents through its forms of worship. It fosters depth in our understanding and discipleship. The means of ensuring Christian maturity are the conservation of true Catholicism spread throughout the pages of the Prayer Book through creeds, collects, canticles and other elements that give us continuity with the apostolic and ancient people of God. We are enriched by ages other than our own, which were sometimes wiser than our own. We are informed by the catechism and confession of an era of doctrinal purification when the church went through a period of correction and realignment with the teaching of Holy Scripture. We hold in trust a treasury that has drawn from the very best that Christian thought and piety has produced down through the centuries. We must not dilute or discard anything for the sake of contemporary relevance or fast growth. Each dimension of our unique make-up must be defended and displayed without shame. Scriptural, Catholic, Evangelical, and Reformed - that is Anglicanism. Augustinianism sums it all up - and Calvinism distinguishes us from the rampant Semi-Pelagianism of our time. The Anglican combination with its balance and pastoral tone points the way to the future church that the Lord may be shaping: The ecclesiastical ideal of its Reformers was to make the Church of England the living centre and rallying point of all the Reformed Churches; and if its leaders and guides were to take up this splendid conception again and endeavour to realize it, they might be blessed in doing the greatest work for the reformed Protestantism that the world has seen since the age of the Reformation (William Hastie - Presbyterian).
bookmarked for later reading.
Good morning..FYI..Julia Duin has a good article in today's Washington Times about the upcoming Bishops' meeting to divvy up ECUSA
Thanks! Went and posted it.
"Arminianism has runs its course to near universalism."...."...and Calvinism distinguishes us from the rampant Semi-Pelagianism of our time."
There are those Western Boogeymen again! You guys worry about the strangest things! :)
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